Updating the fall closet

Now that September is upon us, I'm starting to think seriously about wardrobe holes/ needs for the season. My NAS was fairly light and basics-heavy (i.e. undies/ bras). I am happy with my purchases. The lightweight red sweater became an instant workhorse. I've already worn it 15 times (or more). I probably won't wear it much in winter (too lightweight) but for late summer/ early fall/ spring it  turns out to have been exactly what I didn't know I needed! :)  

For the first year in a while, I was not happy dressing for summer. I missed my usual dressy opportunities. (Mr. Suz and I did not get away this year for our usual theatre jaunt, and I was not able to attend WritersFest summer events.) So I sadly did not get to wear my occasion wear. Our weather was wet, wet, wet, and chilly most of the time. I had to do a lot of car travel so fell back on older pieces (tube skirts) that work well for that felt a bit dated, or in any event, didn't make me feel fab. I did take a short trip to the Maritimes where we enjoyed gorgeous weather the entire time, but that was strictly casual. 

For fall, my activities will be once again be mostly casual. I'm back to school, and taking a class which will involve lots of walking and outdoor excursions. I'm still working from home. I do have one evening presentation to give onstage in early November, and I will be attending a few dressier events in late September. I'm also hoping for a trip to Montreal with Mr. Suz in late October, where I will dress up in the evenings. 

My shopping list so far looks includes the following: 

  • A soft grey cardigan, long (to replace a worn out one).
  • Patterned pants or jeans? 
  • More casual chelsea or moto boots, weatherproof — for walking. Needs good arch support -- to replace Blundstones which aggravate my plantar fasciitis. I need to get on this requirement SOON as my Aquatalia Sweeties are now past renewal. 
  • 3 basic fitted turtlenecks, preferably merino — navy, black, grey.

Holdovers from last year that I could still use more of: 

  • Bright colour (red, royal, fuchsia, etc.) in tops or scarves. 
  • A few more cropped tops/ sweaters. 
  • An asymmetrical or other dramatic sweater. 
  • A few interesting belts.

Peacoat — not a short jacket but a mid-thigh coat (this is a MAYBE, not an immediate need). 

I'm still considering the EF asymmetrical sweater...it's on sale again and I am wondering if it is worth ordering. I am worried it will feel too long for me, even in petite? 

Also wondering what else I might consider for the fall/ winter, to round out my closet. Of course that will become clearer when I do the switchover (probably this weekend) to a more transitional closet. 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.

44 Comments

  • Sara L. replied 1 month ago

    You have a very organized shopping plan.  I think you should try the EF sweater since you are still thinking about it.  That tells me that me it's not a whim and it fits in with your list (asymmetrical sweater).  The front is fairly short so it might not feel long when you're wearing it.

    I won't switch my closet for at least another month so haven't really thought about fall.  The only thing I do know I want is a blush patterned scarf.  I recently bought a Uniqlo blush down vest and blush slip on sneakers.  I want a scarf to tie this small capsule together.  I'm hoping it will work for fall soccer games.  All three of my boys (even the 3-year old) are playing soccer this fall so I'll have lots of soccer games to sit through.

  • Angie replied 1 month ago

    Got to run Suz, but will be back to comment more fully later. Get the grey EF pullover in the petite. 

    YOU NEED MORE FIRE ENGINE. 

  • Suz replied 1 month ago

    Thanks, Angie and Sara

    I'll order the sweater. 

    I agree I need more fire engine, Angie. I'm on the hunt. That boiled wool coat is gorgeous, but... not smart for my current climate. However, since a move is in the offing, it might make sense...

  • Mirjana replied 1 month ago

    I support you completely, you are very well organised and go ahead.

  • Suz replied 1 month ago

    It's ordered. Thanks! 

    We'll see how it works out. I also ordered a different size of the crushed velour top to try. There was some debate if the one I got fit correctly. It felt good in shoulders and body but I see in the photos it looks a bit snug in arms and maybe a larger size would have more drape. 

  • gryffin replied 1 month ago

    Suz - I love that EF sweater.  It's so dramatic and elegant.  It looks like it would be very versatile as you could layer over and under it.  Donna looked amazing in it.  I hope you try it on.  The crushed velour tee is also a fab piece.  I have maxed out the monthly budget, as you know, but I am still eyeing that.  Such a pretty silver gray, very luxe and elegant.  I'm at work but I just checked out Nordstrom rack - I know you do well with aquatalia boots.  They have the gabrina, which is similar to the sweetie more streamlined, less moto.  The gabrina pebbled reminded me of the sweetie even more.  There are some suede waterproof wedge boots.  If you like a bootie, I have the Odette which I think is very elegant but more refined.  Worth checking out to see if anything calls to you.  I will try and post the finds later for you.

  • Suz replied 1 month ago

    Oh, thank you, Gryffin -- I always forget to check the Rack but I think they are now available to us in Canada as well -- I will look! :)

  • Neelie replied 1 month ago

    This asymmetrical top from Joe Fresh is cute and not too long ( I bought it in burgundy) .  It's not a sweater, just a soft  but substantial t-shirt  https://www.joefresh.com/ca/Ca...../WF7A44005

  • Dianna replied 1 month ago

    It amazes me how organized you are with your wardrobe planning and shopping. I need to learn from you and Jenn about that. Your plan seems very well thought. I agree with Angie that you need more red in your life. You look very well in red.

  • Angie replied 1 month ago

    What a shame that you missed out on dressy Summer looks this year, Suz. Perhaps the rest of the year will make up for it some how.

    I'm eager to see how the larger velvet tee fits. 

    Your list is an excellent starting point. Let the boot games begin....

     

  • Beth Ann replied 1 month ago

    I love the plan to add more red and velvet -- these items can boost your mood when you're craving more opportunities to dress up.  

    I realize that your class jaunts will be sporty/casual or gear lite.  Do you have items that are fresh and make you happy for these kind of activities?  I'm realizing that I need, for example, better things to wear while standing out at my son's cross country meets, or going to fall festivals.  I wish I were sightseeing in Paris, but I'd like to look good even in a midwestern field!

  • Suz replied 1 month ago

    Neelie, I always forget about Joe Fresh. That looks like a fun and comfy tee. I will have to check it out. 

    Dianna, if you had seen how disorganized and confused I was when I came here! I used to marvel at others the way you are marvelling at me now. It took about four or five years before I had a base wardrobe and a strong enough sense of my own style and needs to predict ahead of a season what I might need. It helps if, at the end of each season, I make a list of what I wish I'd had. That can (sometimes) form the basis for next year's start of season shopping list. Though it is always wise to consider whether one's needs or wishes may have changed. Most of us evolve our style over time and sometimes the item that seemed so crucial a year ago no longer holds interest. But once you know your own wardrobe essentials, it gets easier to do this. 

    Taking my lists as an example here: 

    • A soft grey cardigan, long (to replace a worn out one)
    • More casual chelsea or moto boots, weatherproof — for walking. Needs good arch support -- to replace Blundstones which aggravate my plantar fasciitis. I need to get on this requirement SOON as my Aquatalia Sweeties are now past renewal.
    • 3 basic fitted turtlenecks, preferably merino — navy, black, grey.
    The above are all wardrobe essentials for winter for me -- it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out if the ones I have are worn out/ no good, I need to update! 

    The other items are all statement items. I tend to overbuy essentials and underbuy statement pieces (and then bemoan my "boring" outfits.) 

    So one goal is to bring that more into balance -- to purchase enough statement pieces each season to update my look and keep me happy. 

    Angie, I'm hopeful I'll get more dressy opportunities through the fall and winter and next spring. I'll definitely have a few in September -- yay! And I *did* purchase a really fun summer dress -- sort of a crossover. By a Canadian design firm I really like -- Comrags. Drop waist, unusual handkerchief hem in the front. Tailored in the back. It's dressy enough for casual date night but fine as a day dress, too. Packs like a dream, made of crinkly cotton. I got to wear it four times this summer with (maybe) one more wear to come, so that was good. 

  • Suz replied 1 month ago

    Beth Ann, what a smart question. As usual, you have me thinking. 

    I do have some good casual outerwear that is both practical and fun.I got a great utility coat last year at J. Crew that turned into a MAJOR workhorse. I also got a fun pink puffer (lightweight) and the pair actually layer suprisingly well!  But I definitely need the footwear to go with these, and maybe new hats and gloves. Good thinking!

  • Lisa replied 1 month ago

    This is a great plan. I have no specific suggestions but echo Angie's request for more red for you, it's lovely on you!

  • Inge replied 1 month ago

    It's always a delight to read your posts, Suz, and the thought process behind it all is very helpful for me (I lead a very casual lifestyle too, and have gotten much better at buying for that lifestyle instead of constantly being seduced by more dressy items, which I love too;-) and gives me inspiration for where I want to head/what I need to put on my needs/want list etc.

    I love your casual coats and it's brilliant that they layer so well.
    I'm holding thumbs that you'll find fab and comfy casual boots and am glad you bought the asymmetrical sweater!-)

    For merino wool turtlenecks: perhaps check the Uniqlo website once in a while. They usually sell reasonably priced merino wool jumpers in the basic colours during Fall/Winter.

    Gap has several longer grey cardigans, not sure if the below are your cup of tea. I've added some more things that I thought could be fun. (The Massimo Dutti website is annoying at the moment, they only let me collect close-up pics that don't show the items in their entirety...).
    I also added a few grey sweaters because I adore how they look with your gorgeous hair.

  • Suz replied 1 month ago

    Inge, you are a wizard! Thank you! So funny -- I was busily collecting some of the very same items as you posted. I'm off to check some out in greater detail. I had not yet visited Massimo Dutti. I get a few days to shop in the city next week so I may be able to see some of these items in person. 

  • lisa p replied 1 month ago

    Glad you posted today- I've been looking for you!  I noticed you don't mention jacket/blazers.  I know your/our window for those is short, but you do a blazer really well, and it might be fun to have new and interesting to wear from now to when it becomes coat weather, no?

    I'm really interested in the EF sweater too - still.  I'm not spending for another month yet, but if it's still available then I think I'll order it too.

    And, why am I not surprised that the red sweater jumped into play right away?  Good score.

  • lisa p replied 1 month ago

    Two more things: that Comrags dress is phenomenal!  Love it on you!  Were you at their store in TO?

    And to Neely's suggestion of the Joe Fresh top - I bought it on a whim (well, everything from Joe Fresh is bought on a whim, because, grocery shopping...) in the grey - and it's a great little top ! I was pleasantly surprised at the quality and fit - while also berating myself for buying crap fast fashion......sigh. 

  • texstyle replied 1 month ago

    The dress you found is beautiful - great find! And I like the sweater so I'm glad you are finally going to give it a try. It's too bad your summer wasn't quite what you hoped for in terms of weather (mine wasn't either - but I had the opposite problem with oppressive heat and humidity this year, and usually we are pretty dry out here). I'm looking forward to fall and winter but I know I will miss the longer days.

  • Style Fan replied 1 month ago

    I love your shopping list Suz.  I am still working on mine.  I like the EF sweater a lot.  And red is gorgeous on you.
    I also didn`t wear all my summer clothes this year.  My rain gear got a good workout though.

  • RobinF replied 1 month ago

    I am in awe of how well you know your wardrobe and tastes. Love those Gap sweaters!

  • Angie replied 1 month ago

    LOVE the new dress, Suz. KILLER SENSATIONAL on you. Try it with a topper and your dressy tall Aquatalia boots for Fall. 

  • smittie replied 1 month ago

    Casual weatherproof booties seem like a great addition. It's just a matter of finding the right pair. I hope you do.

    Would this pair replace your suede aquatalias or the stompy boots? I can't remember if your stompy boots are aquatalia.

    I would watch club Monaco for grey cardigans, if you haven't committed to anything yet.

    Reiss had some really nice belts last year.

    I don't see any wildcards Suz!

  • 3style replied 1 month ago

    Suz, Two suggestions and a thank you.

    For a soft long gray cardigan, check out Garnethill.com. They have the best selection and quality for this item of anything I have seen and I checked they do ship to Canada.

    For finding moto boots, I am usually one to not skimp on footwear, but I found that some inexpensive boots in this style are quite spacious and have plenty of room for orthotics whether custom or standard. It's even something where the boots ventilate well from the top so I don't mind imitation leather. So if you are wanting them for casual wear, you might try that. Mine were from Marshall's a few years back by whitemountainshoes.com.

    Thanks for reminding me about putting a colorful puffer under a dark parka. I had forgotten about this option. A few years ago I got the Thermoball waterproof jacket ( has a shell built on top of the puffy and not a separate jacket) and it is not the best design. It is too slim cut to take a fleece under it, and it has velcro cuffs which make me nervous around nicer woolen sweaters. But I have a bright puffer and a just now found a new dark shell and I hadn't yet considered that combination.

  • Marilyn replied 1 month ago

    You're off to a great start, Suz!  I've started as well....currently going through my light and heavier winter knitwear.  It's stressing me out a bit.....I've done a huge amount of purging over the last year (part weight loss/part style shift) and my closet is very tightly edited at this point.  My head is telling me I'm fine but I worry about having enough and having variety.  ANYWAY.....for the first time I am actually writing down things I would like to add in instead of buying things willy nilly.  It's a great strategy that I know you and others here use. 

    And yes, summer was dismal in this neck of the woods, wasn't it.  I can't remember a summer where I wore jeans/pants as much as this year.  I kept longing for skirt and dress days.

  • cindysmith replied 1 month ago

    All you people with such organized shopping plans make me feel like such a slacker. I'm hoping that I still have warm clothes that fit since I just had to replace a very large portion of my summer wardrobe. Good luck with your shopping!

  • Suz replied 1 month ago

    3style, thank Smittie for the shell over a puffer suggestion! She tried on a gorgeous wool coat over a puffer during last year's NAS and gave me the idea/ reminder. It worked well for me in Iceland where weather conditions were changeable and cool! 

    And good point about considering a less expensive moto. I think it is going to come down to trying some on. I found a Rieker that I like in theory. 

    Smittie, these boots would replace my Blundstones AND my Aquatalia Sweeties (the stompy boots) not the suede ones. Those are seriously the worse for (considerable) wear so I need to examine and see if they can be saved for another season. If not, I still think I got my use from them -- I wore them almost every day for part of the day between September and June (because our weather was so cool and I took them to Iceland with me late May/ early June). I think they were down to almost $1 per wear in one year. 

    Angie, thank you. That dress is way too lightweight to go with fall things, though -- it's like a tissue! But that's okay. No need to wear it cross-seasonally. I need light things for hot summer and heavier things for my other seasons. 

    Robin, I worked hard to develop a coherent style and I guess it has paid off! Thank you!

    Style Fan -- so glad I am not alone -- or not really, because we'd all have loved nicer weather! 

    Texstyle, thank you! The dress would actually be PERFECT for Texas!! Seriously. I am sorry you had hard weather this year, too. (And especially sorry for all those in the Houston area!) 

    LisaP -- I *did* go to the TO store with a friend on my return from Iceland. She's a huge Comrags fan and we always go there when we meet up. (She is from Vancouver but was in the city for a few days). 

    Also, Neely, if LisaP also bought that sweater, you *know* you have found a fabulous item!! 

    Lisa, I think I am set for blazers. I have the bright pink J. Crew, a black tuxedo jacket, a navy Reiss (showing wear but still usable), my taupe Ellie Tahari (which I don't wear as much now with my grey hair but still works). Plus a tweed jacket, various denim jackets, blue moto, blush moto (though I'm probably passing that one along due to gold hardware). I would like a patterned (houndstooth?) equestrienne style jacket at some point -- but no rush for that. 

  • Brooklyn replied 1 month ago

    Wow, I love that dress on you. I like your plan. I say yes to printed pants. I am trying out that myself for Spring. And I second Inge on checking out Uniqlo for turtleneck tops.

  • Dianna replied 1 month ago

    Thanks for your clear and thorough response of your wardrobe planning, Suz.  It was really helpful.  That end-of-season wishlist and reviewing  my essentials are good starting points.  And, I have to say it, that dress is fantastic.

  • delurked replied 1 month ago

    Suz - I tried on that lightweight sweater and decided I couldn't even justify that. I did like it though.

    I hope you work in a few dressy occasions for yourself, as they can make you feel great to dress up.

  • Suz replied 1 month ago

    Delurked, your strategy for winter buying is kind of like my strategy for summer buying. I would really love to have a whole closetful of light sleeveless tops and dresses, but realistically, I can manage with a few of each and really don't need to buy a lot each year. One per year is truly enough. But that doesn't stop me wishing I had more opportunities to wear them! I hope you enjoy your travels and the chance to wear some cool weather clothes. 

  • shevia replied 1 month ago

    Hi Suz, Great to see you! I love the Comrags dress on you! This is the season to buy red, and I do think it looks great with grey of all sorts. Good luck since I have no practical advice whatsoever :) !

  • rachylou replied 1 month ago

    What about something fun and frivolous? Any possible wild cards?

  • JAileen replied 1 month ago

    You're very methodical in your wardrobe planning. I should follow your lead. During NAS, I went crazy. Eventually I came to my senses, but I bought too much stuff. Way too much. Most of it went back.

    I really like the coat Angie suggested. I love boiled wool. It's so warm yet lightweight. And red!

    Hey Delurked, it was only 99 here today!

  • Joy replied 1 month ago

    Our evening dog walking required a jacket! In the 40's already. Maybe it is time to pull out the fall items. You are so organized for your fall shopping. My list has been too much ignored, especially for replacements in black. Maybe let is time to move on.

  • Chris987 replied 1 month ago

    Suz as usual you provide such great inspiration and ideas for cold weather dressing. I also love your approach to each new season and am working to teach myself how to do something similar. Of course I live in a similar climate to you so I could just be a totally wardrobe lemming but I don't spend as much time commuting on foot and my hair color is different but still your ideas as choices are awesome and a great starting point for me.

    And thanks to you and inge and everyone else who posted all the great sweater choices!

  • Inge replied 1 month ago

    That is funny indeed:-)  It's also another reason why your posts are always extra helpful for me: because we tend to like the same colours and items. Exciting that you have some brick-and-mortar shopping time next week. Do keep us posted?

  • Angie replied 1 month ago

    Suz, you need some wild cards....

  • Suz replied 1 month ago

    Totally agree, Angie. Not sure yet what they might be. I think I need some bricks and mortar shopping. My red pants do somewhat count as a wild card. Within my style signature but a wild colour. 

    I was also hoping for a printed pant/ jean. That's not exactly a wild card for me but I have been without for a few years, and happen to love printed bottoms. I mean, I do have my glen plaid wide legs, but that is a false plain. 

  • Angie replied 1 month ago

    YES. There you go. Red pants are your wild card for sure - since you were off bright pants for a while, especially. I'll suggest wild cards for you as I see them....

  • Joyce B replied 1 month ago

    I love that dress on you! I am lucky they don't sell it here or I might try to copy you...
    You have a good plan for Fall shopping, it will be fun to see how it develops for you.

  • smittie replied 1 month ago

    A wildcard can be a new-to-you colour too.

  • skylurker replied 1 month ago

    Wow, you look wonderful in the dress.

    I've been very busy in August and had no time for wardrobe planning or shopping. Usually I start Fall planning with shoes and outerwear, because they're the most expensive and take a big chunk of my budget. Then I review bottoms. Tops...I usually have too many, and tend to shop for them without planning to :)

  • JuniperGreen replied 1 month ago

    Oo do keep us posted on the hunt for short boots as I'm similarly in the market :) 

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